How Do Robot Lawn Mowers Work?

Robotic lawn mowers are great at keeping your garden clean with minimal maintenance, but how do robot lawn mowers work?

Robot lawn mowers can be a gardener’s best friend. Especially if you are not willing to spend entire Sunday afternoons trying to make your lawn professionally cut and tidy, you might have already started to wonder, how do robot lawn mowers work?

No wonder you are a little dubious about them! They promise a lot and, if you are not in the field of technologies, you might be confused about how these machines can be so helpful. However, be assured that some of the best robot lawn mowers are state-of-the-art pieces of machinery that have developed through history to become highly functional. 

Here we are going to have a look at how really robot lawn mowers work, and we will explore the questions that everybody is asking at the moment!

How Do Robot Lawn Mowers Work?

Using a simple mapping system, robotic mowers can detect where you have laid the boundary wire around your lawn. As they realise they are approaching it, they will change course and proceed in cutting the grass of your all garden.

Best of all, their technology allows them to avoid running multiple times in the same area and therefore leaving unevenly cut patches.

More advanced robot lawn mowers are equipped with a 360-degree radar (sometimes laser) sensor. This allows the machine to identify potential obstacles on the way, increasing the level of safety of your robotic mower.

It seems fairly simple, right? However, they cost a lot of money and there is much more to it that you should know! Let’s have a look at what you should know!

What you need to know to understand how robot Lawn Mowers Work

The cutting systems of your robot lawnmower

Of course, the main task of a lawnmower is to cut the grass. However, a robot lawnmower uses a completely different technology from the one that you might have seen in a manual lawn mower.

Normal lawnmowers, in fact, tend to cut the grass much faster and therefore need much more powerful blades to get the job done quickly and with a limited amount of energy. These are often also powered by petrol or fuel, which makes them much more powerful and noisy. 

However, while robot lawn mowers are designed to be autonomous, you will realize that they get the job done much slower and in a noiseless way. This is thanks to their alternative cutting system composed by either smaller spinning cutting blades or by a rotating disc. While the first might be slightly more efficient, the second one makes the machine much quieter.

The Chassis And Wheels of your robot lawnmower

As for other similar types of machines, the chassis and wheels of your robot lawnmower are the components of the skeleton of your machine. While it can seem a simple construction at first, there are a couple of factors that are taken into consideration and highly increase the efficiency of your robotic mower. 

  • Firstly, let’s have a look at the wheels of your robot lawnmower. These are designed to be extremely delicate on your grass to avoid damaging your lawn while taking care of it. In fact, you will realise that you will need to use your lawnmower much more regularly than your manual one. If the wheels were not as delicate, you would see the damage of stress on your grass in no time!
  • Secondly, aside from ensuring that the wheels work properly, the chassis of your robotic mower is designed to make the machine incredibly safe. In fact, the blades of rotating discs are usually positioned within the chassis, which reduces the chances of accidents. It is incredibly difficult to access the blades while your machine is powered on!
  • Lastly, robot lawn mowers’ low centre of gravity allows them to move easily across hilly terrain with small chances of toppling over. The resistance of your robot lawnmower is often directly linked to the type of model you have invested in. More expensive versions can drive along considerable gradients of up to 25 degrees.

The computer system of robot lawn mowers

While it is possible to create incredibly efficient lawn mowers that will cut your grass in no time while being silent and consuming a minimum amount of energy, this would not be affordable in any sense. That is why most manufacturers opt for compromising. Keeping the computer system of robot lawnmower allows the machine to be affordable by anybody.

Among the essential tasks that your robot lawnmower is programmed to execute, you will notice simple commands such as avoiding obstacles, recognise boundaries, and take care of the entire lawn. The most important instructions embedded in the on-board computer of your robot lawnmower are the safety features. These are essentials, as your robot lawnmower will be operating unsupervised for days at a time. 

Thanks to advanced technology, robot lawn mowers are incredibly safe, and it is almost impossible to be subjected to injuries while it is in use. 

How does your robot lawn mower know where to cut the grass?

Don’t be fooled by the high technologies that are often used to build lawnmowers. The boundary detection features of your robot are, in fact, related to an easy, simple, and extremely cost-effective solution: boundary wire. 

As you have bought your robot, you would have realised that it needs a perimeter wire to work properly. Before experimenting with your robot, make sure you have correctly placed the wire around the edges of your lawn. This can take up to 2 hours to be set up properly, depending on how big your garden is. The perimeter wire can also be set around obstacles and objects of your lawn and buried up to 20cm down in the ground. If you prefer to leave it on the surface of your grass, make sure it is fixed properly and don’t worry, it will be invisible once the grass has grown over it.

Random mow systems

If you are wondering what to expect after buying your robot lawnmower, there are a couple of factors to consider. Firstly, your lawnmower is designed to run in a straight line until it recognizes an object or the boundary wire. From here, it will either turn around or take up a different direction. However, depending on how much you are willing to invest in your next robot lawnmower, you could even own a robot with an integrated GPS system through which you can set specific paths and even patterns.

Battery and Solar Power

Most robot lawn mowers work on standard batteries. However, before choosing the perfect robot for your garden, make sure that the batteries that are mounted on it are lithium rather than classic acid batteries. In fact, the first ones only take about 3 hours to be fully charged, while the second ones can take up to 16! Even though most manufacturers are swapping to lithium batteries, some cheaper and older models still work on acid batteries.

Alternatively, since 1995, it is possible to find fully solar-powered robot lawnmowers, which have then been perfected since 2004. These are even better for both you and the planet!

Once charged your robot mower will head off to start cutting your grass. As the battery drops, it will return to the charging station before heading off again to continue. You really don’t need to get involved.

Robot Lawn Mowers: what to look out for!

While robot lawn mowers are undoubtedly the future of lawnmowers, some users still prefer the classic or manual version of them. Let’s have a look at what are some of the downsides of these innovative machines.

The boundary wire

If you are searching for your first robot lawnmower and you are not yet willing to invest an incredible amount of money to have an integrated GPS system in your robot, the boundary wire is something that needs as much maintenance as the robot itself.

In fact, breakage can happen due to freezing conditions, burrowing animals, or just expositions to natural elements. Alternatively, you might just want to change up the shape of your garden. If that’s the case, picking up the wire can be quite quick if you have buried it, or you are not sure where it is precisely.

Can take a lot longer to mow your lawn

Robot lawn mowers can be in use for days at a time, and they tend to cut your grass much slower than manual lawnmowers. This is mainly due to the size of the blades, the speed they work at, and the power they are set on. 

Additional Questions and Answers

Do robot lawn mowers really work?

Yes, however, their accuracy can depend on what model you have picked.

What is the best robot lawnmower?

Two of the most popular brands are the Husqvarna automower and WORX Landroid. What is best really depends on a few factors such as the size of your garden, do you have any slopes, do you need multiple areas mowed? I’d recommend taking a look at our products page with the best robot lawn mowers on the market at the moment and also our buyers guide to help you make your choice.

How long do robot mowers last?

Robot mowers are a lifetime investment! Normally, you can expect them to work as if they were new for up to 10 years. However, you might have to replace the battery every 3 to 6 years.

How much is a robot lawnmower?

The price of robot lawnmowers varies incredibly depending on the manufacturer and quality. They can range between $600 and over $3000. Last year we saw some great special offers on Black Friday Weekend and Prime day. If you’re not in a rush you can keep an eye out for discounts throughout the year.

How Do Robot Lawn Mowers Work – final thoughts

So now you know how they work, it’s up to you to decide if you are ready to take the leap and automate your mowing. 

If you want some further guidance, be sure to check out some of our other articles about robotic lawn mowers that may help you make your mind up not only on if you should get one, but which one you should but.

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About the Author: matt